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Old August 28, 2011, 07:27 PM
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Esperar

What is up with this verb?

I was thoroughly confused at the bookstore today when I saw a translation of the pregnancy book "What to Expect When You're Expecting."

The title was, "Qué Se Puede Esperar Cuando Se Está Esperando."

And I'm standing there thinking to myself, "What You Can Hope for When You're Hoping" . . . wait . . . what?

So I did a bit of research and found three different translations for Esperar: to wait, to hope, to expect.

Are these all correct? And if so, how did one verb become associated with so many different concepts?
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  #2  
Old August 28, 2011, 09:04 PM
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wrholt wrholt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPX View Post
What is up with this verb?

I was thoroughly confused at the bookstore today when I saw a translation of the pregnancy book "What to Expect When You're Expecting."

The title was, "Qué Se Puede Esperar Cuando Se Está Esperando."

And I'm standing there thinking to myself, "What You Can Hope for When You're Hoping" . . . wait . . . what?

So I did a bit of research and found three different translations for Esperar: to wait, to hope, to expect.

Are these all correct? And if so, how did one verb become associated with so many different concepts?
Yep, you got it. Usually it's clear from context which nuance is intended. Here are some of the common uses.

Esperar que + subjuctive = usually to hope that
Esperar que + indicative = usually to expect that

Esperar que sí = to hope so
Esperar que no = to hope not

Esperar without any direct object or dependent clause introduced by que usually means to wait.

Esperar with a direct object may mean to wait for or to expect, depending on context. For example:

1. Por favor espera aquí por un momento = please wait here for a moment.
2. Bajamos al andén y esperamos el tren. = we went down to the platform and waited for the train.
3. Te esperamos en el restaurante a las 19 horas = we'll expect you at the restaurant at 7pm.

The line between to wait for and to expect may be fuzzy.

Last edited by wrholt; August 28, 2011 at 09:07 PM.
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Old August 28, 2011, 09:04 PM
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Yes, the one verb can mean all three concepts, and there are other meanings you haven't yet discovered! As to the 'how can one verb become associated with so many different concepts' question, are you aware that the English verb 'expect' has four different meanings?
I can hardly think of an English word that doesn't have more than one meaning.

Spanish is no different.

The title of the book is 'What You Can Expect When You're Expecting'.

Some members might be able to produce etymologies explaining why that one word can mean so many different things.
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Old August 28, 2011, 09:15 PM
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Thanks holt and Rusty, that's good info. I've always known esperar as "to hope" and was completely oblivious to these other meanings.

I also saw a lot of books with the word "poder" in the title and was equally confused. For instance, "Poder de la Sangre." I stood there thinking to myself, "To Be Able of the Blood?" What?! I think another was, "Poder sin Límites," which made more sense. Eventually, just using context clues, I was able to figure out that Poder apparently also doubles as the noun "power" and later confirmed this with a dictionary. But it was certainly confusing.

BTW Rusty, I can only think of one meaning for "to expect." What are the other three?
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Old August 28, 2011, 09:37 PM
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ex·pect

verb (used with object)

1. to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of: I expect to read it. I expect him later. She expects that they will come.

2. to look for with reason or justification: We expect obedience.

3. Informal. to suppose or surmise; guess: I expect that you are tired from the trip.

4. to anticipate the birth of (one's child): Paul and Sylvia expect their second very soon.
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Old August 28, 2011, 09:50 PM
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Hmm. . .

I'm not sure I agree with those being four unrelated meanings, basically because they are all anticipating something. I will say, though, that the nuances are different.

They are definitely not so unrelated as to wait, hope, and expect.
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Old August 29, 2011, 11:54 AM
Luna Azul Luna Azul is offline
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Originally Posted by SPX View Post
They are definitely not so unrelated as to wait, hope, and expect.
Those three verbs in English are somewhat related, but different at the same time. The nuances are different and when a person is starting to learn English as second language, that can be a problem. But just at the beginning.

In Spanish, you need to understand what the context is in order to know what verb it corresponds to in English.

Who said learning a foreign language was easy...
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Old August 29, 2011, 12:09 PM
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Who said learning a foreign language was easy...
Not me!
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Old August 29, 2011, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
I can hardly think of an English word that doesn't have more than one meaning.

Spanish is no different.
I can't quite agree with this, Rusty. The four meanings of English 'expect' are really subtle nuances, but the difference between 'hope' and 'expect' in Spanish can hardly be called a nuance. There is surely a huge difference in meaning between "I hope he will come" and "I expect he will come". This verb has been driving me nuts for years. I'm formulating the opinion that the difference I perceive between the two concepts is not shared by Spanish speakers, and it baffles me.....
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Old August 29, 2011, 12:52 PM
Luna Azul Luna Azul is offline
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Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
... that the difference I perceive between the two concepts is not shared by Spanish speakers, and it baffles me.....
This Spanish speaker perceives the difference.. . But you're right. However, usually when meaning "I hope" we say "tengo esperanza de ...."

"Espero..." means "I expect..." in most cases.

For what it's worth..
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